Teaching Is My Passion, Students Are My Soul

Former IU Pro VC tells the Daily Sun in an exclusive interview

25 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Teaching Is My Passion, Students Are My Soul

Professor Dr. Md. Shahinoor Rahman is the two-term Pro Vice-Chancellor of Islamic University (IU), Kushtia, Bangladesh. He was first appointed as IU Pro Vice-Chancellor on 20 February 2013 and was reappointed as the same on 22 February 2017. Dr. Rahman, the most senior professor of IU English Department, has completed his second tenure on 22 of the current month. The Daily Sun interviewed this renowned educationist who has served successfully as the Pro Vice-Chancellor of IU for two consecutive terms, for the first time, in its history.

Daily Sun: What differences did you notice between teaching and carrying out administrative duties as a Pro Vice-Chancellor?

Dr. Shahinoor Rahman: Teaching is a continuous process of generating, practicing and disseminating knowledge among students with devotion, integrity and morality through a close contact with classrooms. When a teacher is appointed as an administrator, his duties and responsibilities widen, but he cannot keep himself away from teaching. As a result, a teacher who can coordinate these two types of duties and responsibilities proportionately and successfully, can be a successful teacher as well as a successful administrator. 

Daily Sun: How responsible do you think you were in carrying out academic duties during you long tenure as the ProVice-Chancellor of IU?

Dr. Shahinoor Rahman: First and foremost, I am a teacher, and then I am the Pro Vice-Chancellor. My principal task is teaching. I have never considered myself an administrator keeping aside my teacher identity, and I don’t think it is rational at all for a teacher to do so. Despite working as an administrator, I conduct classes regularly. I have never forgotten the duties and responsibilities of a teacher. Classes were always and are still now above everything; it is, in fact, the address to my soul even though I have been the Pro Vice-Chancellor of this university for two consecutive terms.   

Daily Sun: You have worked as the Pro Vice-Chancellor of this university for two successive terms. How successful do you think you have been?

Dr. Shahinoor Rahman: I cannot comment on how successful I appear to be; my dear students and colleagues will do that. I will only say that I have tried to serve my loving students and colleagues with utmost sincerity and dedication while carrying out duties imposed on me. I will leave to them the task of assessing my success and failure. At the same time, I will say, I have always given all out cooperation to the higher authority to run the university well. I was committed to serving my most loved students, and I believe I have done that.

Daily Sun: Please tell us about your student life and teaching career.

Dr. Shahinoor Rahman: Completing BA with honours and MA in English with first class first position from Rajshahi University, I completed another MA (equivalent to M. Phil) from Indiana University, Bloomington, USA. Then I achieved my PhD Degree in English literature in 2002.

I began my teaching career as a lecturer in the Department of English at Khulna University in 1991. Then I joined the Department of English at IU in the same year. Since then so far, I have served in different academic and administrative posts of three different universities. At IU, I served as the Chair of the Department of English, as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and also as the founder chair of the Department of Folklore and Social Welfare. Then I taught in and chaired the Department of English at Jagannath University, Dhaka for a couple of years. I also taught in the Department of English at Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Dhaka. I also worked as the Professor of English at Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Dhaka for a couple of years.

Apart from these, I worked as Associate Instructor at Indian University, Bloomington, USA while studying there. I have worked as a syndicate member of different public universities, and also as a selection board member of different public and private universities. I am also fortunate to have served and to be still serving in different research and knowledge-generating committees at different universities home and abroad either as the head or as a member.       

Daily Sun: Apart from being an educationist, you have also reputation as a writer and cultural activist. Tell us something about it.

Dr. Shahinoor Rahman: I have written some important books during my academic career among which Bengali Poet Fakir Lalon Shah: Oral Poet and Tradition in the Social context of Contemporary Bangladesh—which is written in English and was published by Indiana University, Bloomington, USA and was digitalized by Google Library in 1999; English Literature: Prospective and Criticism; A collection of Literary Essays, and A Practicum in Social Work and Social Development Practice Learning are the noteworthy ones. Apart from books, I have also research articles published in different acclaimed journals. I am an enlisted artiste of Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television. I have been working as a folklore and Lalon researcher for long. Besides academic and administrative duties, I also worked in different extracurricular and social welfare organisations. In 1991, I achieved the Post of Rector in Bangladesh Debate Federation, and was recognised as the best BNCC (Army) officer in 2004.   

Daily Sun: You have served as the Pro Vice-Chancellor for two successive terms. What are your expectations from the government?

Dr. Shahinoor Rahman: Appointed by His Excellency honourable President, I have tried to work with utmost sincerity and dedication. I offer my heartfelt thanks to the Honourable President and Prime Minister for keeping trust on me. I am also grateful to the honourable Education Minister, State Minister for Education, and to the Chairman of University Grants Commission. Teaching is my passion and profession — it is my only task. If I am given further any duty related to teaching and education, I will try to carry out that with utmost sincerity.

Daily Sun: Who or what were the driving forces behind your tenure as the Pro Vice-Chancellor for two terms successfully?

Dr. Shahinoor Rahman: Honesty in actions and loyalty to rules and laws are the greatest strength of an administrator. I have always tried to remain honest in everything I have done during my tenures. I have worked maintaining government rules and directions minutely, have never gone beyond the capacity of my office nor violated any rule ever. As a result, I was morally strong always. Besides, I have always got all out cooperation from my loving students, teachers, officers and other employees of this university—they were my real driving force throughout these long eight years. I believe the only secret behind one’s success is his honesty, devotion and sincerity to carrying out duties. I sincerely thank all those who made my go easy.    

Daily Sun: Do you have anything to say for the students of your university?

Dr. Shahinoor Rahman: My father is a freedom fighter. As a son of a freedom fighter and as a teacher, I want to tell my dear students that as citizens of an independent country, we all should wholeheartedly love our country as well as those who made the country independent. You are the leaders of tomorrow. So you must build up yourselves as ideal persons alongside learning modern practical and pragmatic knowledge. Father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman brought the people of this country independence.  Therefore, you must grow up with Bangabandhu’s ideology and spirit of the Liberation War in your hearts.

Daily Sun: Thank you for giving us your valuable time.

Dr. Shahinoor Rahman: Thank you very much.